The Company Programme helped Olivia develop confidence and communication skills.
Olivia attended Wolstanton High School, where she studied History, German, Art and Music. She completed the Company Programme whilst in year 11 during the 2013- 2014 academic year.
The team initially started off with 21 members and everyone had to nominate themselves for a position and complete a presentation. Olivia nominated herself as Finance Director and was “lucky enough” to get it.
When it came down to deciding which business idea they wanted to pursue, there were two main ideas which split the group equally: knuckle brillo pads or a gardening kit for children. As the gardening kit had more votes this is the idea they chose. However, the 10 members that chose the knuckle brillo pads became disillusioned in the programme and over the next few weeks’ tensions grew and they stopped turning up to meetings. As a result, the initial 21 members became 11.
The remaining members began to gain momentum and worked well as a team. The company went on to win a number of awards during the county finals including a Leadership Award to the Managing Director, Innovation Award and Best Trade Stand. The team also entered the Young Chambers Skills factor 2014 and won the national award.
“I’m quite introverted so my communication skills with people I didn’t know were pretty poor but I had to go out and do market research and talking to loads of people so you just naturally build those skills up”
Olivia chose the role of FD as she wanted to be an Accountant. Yet, over the course of the Company Programme she found that it may not be the career path she wanted to pursue after all:
“Even though [the Finance Director role] had maths and I do enjoy maths, I like doing practical things as well so that’s what pushed me towards engineering and mechanics
Upon completion of her GCSEs, Olivia went on to study Maths, Chemistry and Physics at A’ level. During her first year at college, Olivia was required to complete 50 hours of enrichment activities. She volunteered to be a Student Ambassador for the Company Programme at her previous school. This required Olivia to go back to school once a week to mentor students in year 11 completing the Company Programme.
Olivia attended several interviews for Airbus which took on different forms e.g. video interview, team-building and a face-to-face interview.
Olivia notes that the skills gained through her Company Programme experience allowed her to be more involved in the exercises:
“I wouldn’t have been as involved with the team [compared to before Company], I would have just sat back and let everyone else do it. I used my experience through doing [the programme] with budgets and that side of things and teamwork and asking them what they wanted”
Despite not getting the grades required, Olivia was still accepted onto the sponsored aerospeace engineering degree at Airbus. Olivia is now completing the three-year course based in Chester. After her degree she hopes to complete a Masters to become a Chartered Engineer. Olivia is still using the skills she developed through the Company Programme in her degree as she notes: Whilst progressing through the Airbus course, I have noticed I’m also building on the basic problem solving skills I developed through YE along with team building.
“Taking part in YE enabled me to gain a lot of fundamental skills needed in an engineering environment and I am very grateful for that opportunity”